Mysteries of Larsil
|Greater Larsil Deity|
|Symbol:||A blank scroll|
|Home Plane:||Concordant Domain of the Outlands|
|Portfolio:||Bards, inspiration, invention, knowledge|
|Worshippers:||Artists, bards, cartographers, inventors, loremasters, sages, scholars, scribes, wizards|
|Domains:||Charm, Knowledge, Luck, Travel, Trickery|
|Favoured Weapon:||“Mortal Strike” (longsword)|
The Lord of Knowledge, Binder of What is Known
Followers of Barian tell an interestin tale regarding the earliest days of his existence. Not long after Jacquith and Maldi created Larsil and gave birth to Calewyr, the worlds animating spirit, a traveller ventured to the world from a distant realm. He came upon a chaotic landscape of indistinct, shapeless concepts yearning to be given solidity. To each of these concepts he gave a name that would define it for aeons to come. Such was the power of these names that the concepts transcended their elusive existence, bound to physical form in the material world. Thus, did Barian, the Binder of What is Known, give order to chaos and claim an honoured place among Larsil’s oldest deities.
Barian’s dominion over the realm of ideas continues to this day. The Lord of Knowledge sits in judgement of all ideas, deciding whether they will be allowed to spread, or whether they will die with their originator. In this regard, the Binder exercises a great deal of caution, for the experience of countless ages weighs heavy on his heart. He prefers a doctrine of ideological conservatism, hoping that no new thought disrupts the delicate balance he has nurtured since the beginning of time. Despite this, Barian exudes an outwardly cheerful demeanour, using his good looks, skillful debate, and peerless charm to sway even the most ardent opponents to his way of thinking. Radical deities such as Xenthan and Quila, who frequently oppose Barian’s rigid adherence to the status quo, view his orations as hidebound and manipulative. Nonetheless, all but the most vile and loveless appreciate the fine lilt of his voice and his delicate, skillful performance on the yarting (a type of guitar). Barian’s legendary musical skill and geniality define mortal impressions of the deity. He is the patron of bards, and most consider him the source of creative inspiration and the protector of accumulated knowledge. Served by sages, wizards, bards, and nay who base their lives on the exchange of knowledge or song, Barian is honoured by members of every race, social class, and creed.
Most Barian myths date to the earliest centuries of human existence. Some claim that barian gifted the world with written language, others that the Binder is responsible for all concepts. While such theological pedantry incites endless debate among the scholarly classes of Larsil, nearly everyone agrees that Barian is ancient and has been widely worshipped since before the dawn of history. Together, Barian, Beledan, Aelfur and Dynot are known as the Deities of Knowledge and Invention. The Binder has a somewhat patronizing relationship with Beledan and Aelfur, whom he treats as his servants in the preservation and promulgation of knowledge. He appreciates Dynot’s enthusiasm and creativity but frowns at the Wonderbringer’s constant desire to push technology further and further, putting innovation ahead of introspection. Barian dislikes Melvar, Tanor, and Iraxar, viewing them as the most credible threats to his beloved balance.
Knowledge, particularly the raw knowledge of ideas, is supreme. An idea has no weight, but it can move mountains. The greatest gift of humankind, an idea outweighs anything made by mortal hands. Knowledge is power and must be used with care, but hiding it away from others is never a good thing. Stifle no new ideas, no matter how false and crazed they seem; rather, let them be heard and considered. Never slay a singer, nor stand by as others do so. Spread knowledge wherever it is prudent to do so. Curb and deny falsehoods, rumour, and deceitful tales whenever you encounter them. Write or copy lore of great value at least once a year and give it away. Sponsor and teach bards, scribes, and record keepers. Spread truth and knowledge so that all folk know more. Never deliver a message falsely or incompletely. Teach reading and writing to those who ask (if your time permits), and charge no fee for the teaching.
Clergy and Temples
Clerics of Barian pray for spells in the morning. Every day, they perform two rituals known as the Cornerstones of the Day. The first, the Binding, is a morning ceremony of writing mystic symbols during silent prayer. The second, known as the Covenant, is an evening ritual sharing works of wisdom, song, and new knowledge. When a child follower of Barian achieves his or her twelfth year (or equivalent for non-human worshippers), local clerics perform a private ceremony known as the Naming. They reveal to the youth his or her “True Name,” a secret signifier that represents that being’s true essence. One’s True Name is used only in personal prayer to the Lord of Knowledge and should not be shared with anyone. Barians believe that knowing one’s True Name gives power over the person, and hence do not mention it even to their closest friends or relatives. Barian’s clerics often multiclass as bards and sometimes as wizards or lore masters.
Clerics of Barian are known as Namers. The church welcomes members of all races and philosophies, provided prospective clerics swear to the doctrine of the Binder of What is Known and dedicate themselves to acquiring, administering, and protecting knowledge. Members of the church might remain cloistered in temples (usually academics or sages more at home among stacks of books and scrolls than among their fellows) or travel the land, recording their experiences and periodically reporting to the temples they encounter on their travels. Wayfaring clerics and bards within the church tend to be adventuresome and curious, bon vivants who occasionally come into ideological conflict with their academic counterparts. The two branches need each other, however, and such reprobation seldom escalates beyond mild disapproval.
Far more common in cities than the wilderness, temples of Barian resemble libraries filled with acolytes huddled over desks covered in books, maps, and scrolls. Many support themselves by selling writing implements, services, or maps, often to adventurers. Most temples include extensive binderies to aid cloistered clerics in producing religious tracts and volumes that will form the basis of future temple libraries.